Lok Sabha passes bill criminalising Triple Talaq

Meenakshi Lekhi

Opposition members, including of the Congress and Left parties, criticised the government for not consulting stakeholders and for "draconian" penal provision of imprisonment of three years. True empowerment of Muslim women on the marriage front can happen only when the practice of polygamy is also done away with, they say.

The bill was passed amid hue and cry of most of the leading political parties in the Opposition, together with the Congress party, voting in favor of the bill, but with some cautions.

AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi, who alleged "vested interests" behind the legislation, said it was an attempt to demonise Muslim men. "While the Bill talks only about Muslim women being abandoned, the Government should also worry about almost 20 lakh women of various religions who are abandoned by their husbands, "including our bhabhi from Gujarat", he said, making a veiled reference to Prime Minister's wife Jashodaben".

Congress members protested the introduction of the National Medical Commission Bill by Health Minister J P Nadda, demanding that it be sent to the parliamentary standing committee for thorough scrutiny.

Referring to the Shah Bano case of mid-1980s, Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP criticized the opposition Congress of indulging in politics of appeasement overlooking the plight of Muslim women. Introducing the Bill, he told those opposing it that "yeh kanoon na kisi puja ka hai, na prarthana ka hai, na ibadat ka hai, na majhab ka hai, yeh kanoon naari nyay, naari garima aur naari samman ka hai" (this is not a law for any prayer or religion but it is for justice to women, their dignity and respect).

The bill states that the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary. All kinds of instant triple talaq - spoken, in writing or by electronic means, such email, text message or WhatsApp - would be illegal and void.

Is the law may be misused?

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Responding to the debate, Prasad countered the Opposition's objections.

MPs voted a few months after India's Supreme Court struck down the practice as unconstitutional.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was a counsel for Bebaak Collective on the issue of triple talaq in Supreme Court, however, expressed shock.

Reform of Muslim personal law has always been a hot button topic in Indian politics.

India's civil codes are created to protect the independence of religious communities.

Soon after the apex court's ruling, the government set up a ministerial panel to frame the legislation. Triple talaq is a crime and has spoilt many lives.

However, Uzma Naheed of All India Muslim Personal Law Board believes that no one has really tried to study the sharia and as such there is no awareness of available options. They were of the view that Parliament should consider an "appropriate" law to deal with the issue of talaq-e-biddat.

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